So, I fell in love.
It was a gentle beginning which accelerated into an explosion of delight, music and nomadic wandering.
Yes, I’m talking about my tribe, The Lyrical Nomads. In short, we are a collective of singer-songwriters and best friends from various parts of the world (Italy, England, South Africa, New Zealand and France at the last count).
This is the story of how we met and how The Lyrical Nomads came into being:
In Jan 2013 I began hosting the long-running ‘Inspiral Lounge Open Mic‘ in Camden, London. I had co-hosted the night for a few months in early 2010, when I was still employed as a front of house staff member at the Lounge.
I dedicated my passion for music and stories to the Open Mic and, within a few weeks of hosting, the night had become one of the most popular in Camden and London.
Soon after, I began inviting weekly featured acts as a way to give artists more exposure and an opportunity to make some money from pass-the-hat donations…artists often making around £100 for a 20 minute set.
Inspiral Lounge was, for 8 beautiful years, a safe haven for the fairies, freaks, minstrels and nomads of the world who regularly pass through London on their varied adventures (sadly Inspiral’s doors closed permanently in Dec 2015). It was therefore no surprise that some of the greatest talents, and warmest hearts, to ever grace the stage of my open mic would come directly from the staff who worked at Inspiral Lounge. Thomas James Smith, Roaman, Ny Oh and Sam Garrett where all staff members who at some point got up onto the stage and stole my heart with their magical music and Beings, going on to feature at the open mic and feature in the story of my life.
Over the next few years our friendships grew and deepened, as we wove in and out of one another’s various adventures. Our growing companionship culminated in us performing a sell-out show for 150 people at the St Pancras Old Church on 28 November 2014, along with another good friend of ours Tom PS.
We then all parted ways, with most of us going to Tenerife in the Canary Islands to stay on a friend’s banana plantation. I went back to South Africa to visit my family and play some music…and life went on.
The Naming Of The Nomads
And yet…and yet, we felt that something had changed.
The feeling was that we wanted to keep spending time together, that things were better when we were together, that something had clicked and we wanted it to keep on clicking.
The messages we were sharing with the world as individuals, through the lives we were living and in every note and lyric of our songs, was of the same part of the same tapestry. What our time in London had shown us was that as individual artists we were already reaching people in sincere and authentic ways…but that when we came together and shared our hearts and music as a collective, as a community, the increase in the energy was an exponential, quantum expansion. In our case, 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 did not equal 5, it equaled sunlight on the leaves in the morning, warm hugs every day, galaxies of hearts beating to the beat ours beats to…and an infinite expansion into something intangible yet oh-so-real.
And so, as I spent several months writing songs and playing shows in South Africa, while my tribe wandered around the island of Tenerife playing music for the people they met, we spent many hours on group chats discussing how we could turn our shared love and excitement into something tangible and sustainable. After much heckling, laughter, frustration and bouncing of ideas, we finally landed on the name, and The Lyrical Nomads were born.
The Nomads in London
We gathered again and, on 26 June 2015, we played our first official show as The Lyrical Nomads. It was a full house, full with the beautiful people who had been listening to us from day one, and who we knew through the light in their eyes and the bounce in their steps. It was an incredibly beautiful experience to be a part of.
What followed were months of shows in castle ruins, festivals, live studio recordings, trips to Europe, musical beach weekends, MASSIVE dance parties (thanks Morning Gloryville clan!), thousands of cuddles, an ever growing community of friends and fans, and a deepening love and respect for one another as artists and as humans.
Some random pics of a few of the things we got up to in the last year as The Lyrical Nomads:
Somewhere along the way we met the lovely Kim Cassidy, who has become the 6th Lyrical Nomad. A gentle wanderer, with a fine touch for the lap-steel and banjo, you’ll find him wherever we are.
I MUST mention Jesse Sheehan at this point. Although not an ‘official’ Lyrical Nomad, he certainly has become one of our most dear friends and favourite artists, to the extent that he performed some songs at our season farewell London show at Fox & Phoenix on 11 Nov 2015. Not only that, but he wrote us a song called Thank You, which had me weeping from the first line (it is AMAZING). Hoping he releases it to the world sometime soon.
One of my favourite things about The Lyrical Nomads is how safe, loved and accepted I feel within this community. We are all people who have chosen to be vulnerable, honest and sincere in how we share ourselves each other and with the world. As a sensitive, deeply empathic man, this has been a revolutionary, heart opening and empowering experience for me.
I love these people with my whole heart and am delighted to continue sharing this journey with them and with you who come to our shows, watch our videos, find solace in our songs and give us hugs from near and far.
Nate Maingard and The Lyrical Nomads
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